The Paradoxes of Self-Love and True Love

"[A Christian] lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor...He lives in Christ through faith, and in his neighbor through love." --Martin Luther, The Freedom of the Christian

"The self will lose itself if it simply lives in and for itself. It will seek its own benefits, and the more it seeks it own benefits, the less satisfied it will become. That's the paradox of self-love: The more you fill the self, the more it echoes with the emptiness of unfulfillment. Living in itself and for itself, the self remains mysteriously unsatisfied and insatiable. Since God creates the self to be indwelled by Christ, the self will be fulfilled only if it draws the living water from the wellspring of love's infinity and passes it on to its neighbors. The paradox of true love is exactly the opposite of the paradox of self-love: When loving truly, the self moves outside of itself to dwell with God and neighbor, and only then is it truly at home. When this happens, we have crossed over from self-centeredness to genuine and fulfilling generosity." --Miroslav Volf, commenting on Luther's quote in Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace.

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